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Workers' Compensation FAQ
Answers from Experienced Harrisburg Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Choosing the right lawyer for your workers' compensation claim is not a decision to be taken lightly. You should feel comfortable with your attorney and trust his or her abilities to successfully advocate on your behalf. Many Pennsylvania law firms claim that they specialize in workers' comp, but how can you really be sure?
At Metzger Wickersham law firm, we have an entire department dedicated to representing injured workers and an attorney who is certified as a specialist in PA workers' compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
If your questions aren't satisfactorily answered below, don't hesitate to give us a call. We're available 24/7 and offer free case evaluations! Call (888) 286-2850 today.
Are there any time limits for filing my workers' compensation claim in Pennsylvania?
Yes, there are a variety of time limits on workers' compensation claims depending on how your claim has been handled so far. You must report a work-related injury to your employer within 120 days of the date of injury. If your claim for workers' compensation benefits is denied, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a Claim Petition to litigate your rights. Those are just two examples. Failure to understand the various time limits on workers' compensation claims can result in the forfeiture of your ability to receive benefits.
I reported my work injury to my employer 2 weeks ago, but haven't yet heard back. How long does it take to get a decision on my workers' compensation claim?
Once a workers' compensation claim is reported to an employer's insurance carrier, the insurance company has 21 days to make a decision regarding whether the claim will be accepted or denied. You should make sure your employer reported your injury to their insurance company. Once the insurance company makes a decision on your claim, you will be notified by mail.
Can workers’ compensation be denied?
Yes, your workers’ compensation claim can be denied. One of the most common reasons workers’ comp may be denied is because the claim was not filed in a timely manner. Additionally, your employer may dispute the claim, either claiming the accident did not happen on the job or the injury was not a result of the accident. Your employer may also try to argue that the conditions or injuries are not severe enough to make a claim.
What can I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied?
If your claim is denied you will have to file a Claim Petition and begin litigation to try to obtain benefits. You should contact an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation attorney who can explain your rights and what happens next.
I am currently receiving workers' comp, but I just found out that my employer's WC carrier is trying to terminate my benefits. What should I do?
You should contact a workers' compensation lawyer as soon as you receive notice that the carrier wants to terminate your benefits. A hearing will be scheduled in front of a workers' compensation judge, and you should have an advocate who can explain the process to you and make sure your rights are protected.
What are workers' compensation specific loss benefits?
Specific loss benefits are available to employees who suffer a work-related injury that results in the loss or loss of use of a body part such as a finger, a leg or an eye. These benefits are generally separate from wage loss and medical benefits, and they are calculated using formulas outlined by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
What is an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?
An IME is a medical examination scheduled and paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The carrier will choose a doctor to perform the IME and will set the place, date and time for the examination. The carrier is permitted to send an injured worker to an IME once every six months while their claim for workers’ compensation benefits is ongoing.
Do I have to treat with a company doctor or can I choose my own doctor?
For the first 90 days following a work injury, you are required to treat with medical providers from the employer's panel of physicians. If no panel exists, you can treat with a provider of your choosing from the beginning of your claim. If your claim for workers' compensation benefits is denied at some point during the first 90 days after a work injury, you can begin treating with your own doctor.
What is a Claim Petition?
A Claim Petition is a legal document filed with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to begin litigation on a claim where an injured worker's initial claim for benefits was denied by the insurance carrier. If your claim was denied and you wish to pursue benefits, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer who can fully explain the litigation process.
How soon after my injury can I settle my claim for a lump sum?
It depends. If your injury is relatively minor and you return to your job shortly after being hurt, you may not be eligible for a lump sum settlement. If your injuries are serious and you anticipate being unable to work for some time, a lump sum settlement may be right for you. It's always smart to contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of settling your claim.
What will a Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer do to assist me with my case?
A lawyer can assist you in all aspects of your workers' compensation case from filing a Claim Petition to negotiating a settlement. The workers' compensation system in Pennsylvania is complicated, and an experienced attorney will be able to answer your questions and help protect your rights. A good lawyer will make sure your case moves smoothly so that you can focus on recovering from your injury.